Martin Delany was born in West Virginia a free man, the son of Pati and Samuel Delany. He was considered free because his Mother Pati was a free women. In his growing years he and his siblings were taught to read using the New York primer to learn to read. To keep from being arrested his mother moved the children to Pennsylvania a free state. He did have to leave school occasionally to help on the family farm but eventually he did migrate to Pittsburgh where he became a barber and laboroer to support himself.- In 1834 Delany met and married Catherine Richard with whom he married Catherine Richards and they had 11 children that all survived to adulthood. During the national choldera epidemic in 1833, Delany became apprenticed to Dr. AndrewN. McDowell, where he learned contemporary techniques of fire cupping and leeching then condidered the primary techniques to treat. He continued to study under the mentorship of Dr. McDowell and other abolisionist doctors, such as Dr F. Julius LeMoyne and Dr. Joseph P. Gazzam of Pittsburgh.
Delany became more active in political matters. In 1835 he attended his first National men of color convention, held in Philadelphia since 1831. He was inspired to conceive a plan to set up a 'Black Israel' on the east coast of Africa. He also became involved in the temperance movement and organizations caring for fugitive slaves who had escaped to Pennsylvania, a free state. While Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were in Pittsburgh in 1847 on an anti-slavery tour, they met with Delany. Together the men conceived the newspaper that became the North Star. It was first published later that year in Rochester, New York. The business was handled by Douglass, while Delany traveled to lecture, report, and obtain subscriptions. During these travels, he was frequently confronted by mobs opposing his views, sometimes violently.
While living in Pittsburgh, Delany studied the basics of medicine...
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